Cougar Comebacks, One-Point Games, & Dana’s Comments


First, let’s celebrate what happened on Friday night. That was a pretty amazing comeback, and Clayton Tune’s Play of the Year made it possible. And then look at the offensive numbers before that play.

So much happened in this game that it’s hard to get a 360-degree view. But how about one-point games for the Coogs? It’s been a pretty great run they’ve been on since the turn of the century.

The Cougars are 8-2 in one-point games since 2000 (the two losses: BYU at NRG in 2013, 47-46, and Miami at the Orange Bowl in 2006, 14-13). That’s wild. Before that, Kim Helton was 1-3 in one-point games (he also had a tie with SMU in 1993).

Also, think of the comebacks: With the exception of Tech in 2009, UH trailed by double digits in the second half of all eight one-point wins since 2000:

YearOpponentFinal ScoreTrailed 2nd Half
2009Texas Tech29-2828-20

Just for the hell of it, here are the one-score games since 2000, the record by coach, their winning percentage, and the percent of their games that were one-score.

CoachRecordWinning %One-Score Games %
David Gibbs1-0100%100%

We’ve written before about how Tune looks much more comfortable in tempo, and the fourth quarter at the Liberty Bowl showed that. But the ‘faster’ offense required two long fourth-down conversions (15 and 7 yards) that wouldn’t be part of the offense if the Coogs weren’t down late. In the regular flow of a game, those 4th down plays do not happen, and the punt team comes out.

Quoting Dana Holgorsen

“This thing was gonna go one way or another after this game,” Dana said Friday night. “Next week was about to be challenging. Sitting at 2-4, regardless of what the score was or whatever, it was gonna be challenging. There’s no doubt about it.

“We were gonna have to reassess a lot of things, but now we’ve got momentum.”

That’s puzzling. So did a kick return and Clayton Tune’s Superman 4th down scramble change the entire trajectory of what Dana and staff were going to do? Surely not, right?

The off week is usually heavy on recruiting and giving players a rest. It comes at a great time, too, splitting the season in half. But this week also has to be about fixing the offensive issues that have plagued the Coogs for the first three-quarters of the majority of games. Hopefully, the tone of the response does not match the reality of what will occur.

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